Millport is currently playing host to an exhibition in memory of one of Scotland’s best loved comedians and character actors in Duncan Macrae, who had a holiday home on the island.

Duncan (20 August 1905 – 23 March 1967) was one of Scotland’s leading actors of his generation.

And this summer the council’s heritage team have put on on a special exhibition at the Museum of the Cumbraes in Millport, just beyond the main entrance inside the Garrison, to explore the life and tales of the Scottish star.

Duncan Macrae was considered one of the country’s best known actors – working with international stars on stage, television, radio and in cinema.

And what makes his connection to Millport so strong, is the fact that it’s the place he and his wife Peggy chose to relax and call their second home.

The popular pair often visited to escape the hustle and bustle of Glasgow. In fact, they loved the Isle of Cumbrae so much, that they bought Dundonald Villa on Kames Bay.

The couple were as popular in Millport off-screen, bringing the glitz and glamour of showbiz to the small, quaint Isle. Peggy was a teacher on the island for many years as well as a Millport burgh councillor. She also helped establish the annual Cumbrae Queen celebrations.

Duncan himself was born in Maryhill on 20 August 1905. He attended Glasgow University to study engineering but soon discovered his love and talent for acting.

He joined Glasgow’s Citizen Theatre in his early acting days before featuring in acclaimed films such as ‘Whisky Galore’ and ‘Tunes of Glory’. In television he was Para Handy in the first adaptation of Neil Munro’s tales. Later in the 1960s he was cast in ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Avengers’ – both cult television shows. His last film, released after his death in 1967, was the James Bond spoof - ‘Casino Royale’.

Council staff have worked closely with the couple’s two daughters to create the exhibition which explores John’s acting achievements and the family’s attachment to Millport.

Daughter Christine MacCrae said: “Since the day the exhibition was first suggested it has been a pleasure being involved. Choosing these exhibits took me back to the 1950s and 60s, when Millport’s enduring charm had a tinge of showbiz glamour.

“But my father had more than theatre in mind when he wrote ‘The play’s the thing’ in my autograph book. Though he was always working somewhere, often far from home, the natural history of Millport and it’s time honoured pastimes like cycling and walking revived him and helped maintain his demanding scehdule.

“My mother Peggy used to say ‘I’ve seen the world and there is no place like Millport.’ “Her affection for it began long before she met my father. She was an early pioneer of open spaces and her distinguished contribution to many aspects of Millport life is well documented here. She is missed in Millport still.” Christine’s sister, Anne Caldwell added: “Our late father John was generally better known than our late mother Peggy (nee Scott) Macrae, but the latter came into her own down here, where she could garden, see friends and contribute greatly to community life, including teaching special needs children, which was her vocation.She became a councillor and laterly a parliamentary candidate. Many Millport initiatives originated with her. She was a devout member of the congregation of the Cathedral of the Isles, that splendid and surprising place of worship, in which David and I were married in 1969. My father loved to return to Millport from wherever he was and whatever professional work he was engaged in. All his life he was a great walker, and very fit.

“People were used to seeing him striding about, routinely walking around the island for a bit of exercise before lunch. He loved the place.” The exhibition will be on display at the Museum of the Cumbraes until 3 October.